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Not All Home Based Businesses Are Created Equal – Tips to Help You Decide

images-1I am passionate about the Network Marketing industry.  Whether you call it Network Marketing, MLM, a home based business or even an un-franchise it’s all the same to me.  Many have misconceptions about this industry due to some unethical fools who manipulate others for their own personal gain. There are schmucks in every profession.

I am a network marketing professional and I hold my head high.  I’ve been involved in the industry now for nearly 10 years and my experiences have run the gamut from pathetic failure to top income earner.  Having been around the block a bit I wanted to offer a few tips as to what to look for when starting your own network marketing business.  There are many options out there so perhaps this will be of help to you.

Top Tips for Selecting a Home Based Business

Choose a Solid Company– I used to believe that the only way for the average person to achieve success in MLM was to get in on the “Ground Floor”; it’s actually exactly the opposite. This lottery strategy is exciting and many fall into it’s trap.  I did.  I was involved in 3 start ups before choosing to partner with a solid company.  All 3 of those companies folded before I even had a chance to call my entire list!  The promises of ‘get in early’ are attractive to some who have seen others have success but in my experience I have NEVER YET seen a person who chose to build with a new company who was still with the company after 2 years (most are burned out before their 1st year and walk away murmuring about how the industry is horrible.) If the words “ground floor” or “get in early” are in the pitch kindly smile, nod & back out of the room.

Find a Successful Leader to work with– I love to go to dinner & movies with my friends. My family loves to frequent the movie theaters of our area to check out the newest blockbuster.  But here’s a fact you may not know- The friend who shared the business with you is probably not an expert in the industry.  I’m certainly not saying to only work with the top leaders but I am saying that you had better have some conversations & do some research on the reputation & qualifications of the leaders on your team.  Speak with them on the phone and ask them your questions.  I have seen many a friendship get weird when one is put in a role as business mentor when just last week you were babysitting their children.  Some friendships can make this transition. Personally, I find it rewarding to build a business with friends but if you are looking to have the type of success you were promised on that video you’d better have direct access to someone who has attained what you’re after.  I like to introduce all people to my wife…She has the ability to see things in people that I miss.  She calls it intuition but I call it magic!

Does the Company Have a Simple System & Quality Tools-  I joined a company once because they had the most amazing & exciting 3 minute video I’d ever seen.  Many of my friends joined our team based on the same exciting video.  The problem, of course, was that nobody really ever tried the product! If someone is coming at you with big promises and unwavering belief about a product they just heard about a few weeks ago I advise you to take a deep breath and sit on the sidelines for a bit.  Your friends and warm market are going to take action based on your relationship with them.  When they hear your passion & conviction they will be compelled to join you.  There are many great products represented in this industry and some mediocre ones as well. Don’t risk your social equity on the promises of a snazzy powerpoint slide, a well-made video or some lady you’ve never met in front of a room with a story.  If the company is solid now it will be solid when you’re done doing your due diligence.

Unless you plan on learning everything about the product, compensation plan and business model then I suggest you closely inspect what kind of tools the company has to offer.  There is a wise saying that I share with my team all the time, “USE the tools, don’t BE the tool!”  Many start ups rely on the magnetism of a few well-spoken leaders to leverage a large group to join the company.   If you can’t do what they can do when it comes to sharing the company with others then your business is doomed for failure.  Solid tools (websites, videos, brochures, sizzle calls, sampling) are the pathway to success for the unexperienced networker.  No tools, No Team!

Customers Are Good For Business-  Here’s a red flag.  Someone goes on & on about how revolutionary their product or service is!  You are sold and ready to buy when all of a sudden you find out that if you become a ‘Distributor’ you can get it at a discount.  Because this practice is so widespread in the industry I never even saw any problem with it until I experienced how healthy it feels to simply let a customer be a customer. Don’t misunderstand me, some company reps offer discounts for becoming a rep but they offer it as an option and don’t make you feel stupid for simply becoming a customer.

Most of your friends probably want to try the product or service you have to offer but when they suddenly are confronted with starting a business to get a good deal it can get awkward.  A healthy business model focuses primarily on getting customers and then promoters.  It’s totally acceptable for a company to make a customer aware of being a distributor but If the overall message of the company & the folks in the room focuses on a culture of “JUST GET YOUR 3 AND WE’LL ALL BE RICH” then proceed with caution! In fact, I have found that my best promoters were happy customers first!

These are just some initial things to look for when starting a new business.  It’s an exciting time for sure.  This industry has dramatically transformed the entire course of my family!  My intent with this post is to simply bring to light some very important factors to look for in deciding on a entrepreneurial vehicle for you &/or your family.  Success is possible in this industry and I am living proof.

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Don’t Let Your Why Become Your Won’t

Everyone has an ultimate reason for deciding to start a business. This is called your, ‘Why’. For many, this why is centered around spending more time with family and, perhaps, having a bit more financial freedom to accomplish this.
This brief video is a warning for Christian Entrepreneurs, however…the enemy knows your why as well and WILL use it against you to his advantage.

When Your House Guest Eats the Soap

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I remember the first time a friend of mine invited me to come learn about a business he was starting.  I recall rolling up to that sprawling estate with awe & wonder.  The guard at the gate had watched me roll up in my 1993 Dodge Dakota and didn’t seem overly impressed.

I distinctly remember 2 things about that night.

Lesson 1: People are Strange

A lady with big hair and a slightly bigger affection for perfume came out of the guest bathroom and made a comment about how the bars of soap tasted exactly like they smelled. People in the room gave a nervous giggle and began shifting their gaze to the far corners of the room in a desperate search for real life.  Sure enough, I walked into the bathroom later and saw teeth marks on their decorative soap display!

2. Never Assume You Know Someone’s Story

I always have a way of being among the last to leave an event.  That night was no exception.  I was a 2nd year teacher with 4 kids to feed and a family to support.  I hadn’t yet polished up my tact & so I asked the lady who owned the home a direct question.  “Why do you need a side business?  I mean, your house has columns, your driveway is filled with new vehicles, your husband’s a doctor & you have a successful real estate business.”  Her answer was direct & profound; soaked in a sad sort of humility :  “Rob, we’re just broke on a different level.”

Her words have been rolling in my mind here lately and I felt an urgency to share them with you all.

Broke on a Different Level

This phrase is true of so many folks I speak with.  This beautiful couple had begun to make more money.  And like many others they started buying things they didn’t need, with money they didn’t have to impress people they didn’t like anyway!  In a world of big credit & small, easy payments it’s hard not to reward ourselves.

Here’s the truth: Debt is bondage (Proverbs 22:7) & you need to begin freeing yourself today.  There are 1000’s of options for you to begin with but I would personally recommend you take a look at Dave Ramsey’s resources as a solid start.

Once you get an honest assessment of where you are financially and begin to develop a game plan for your financial freedom I encourage you to start a home based business you can get excited about.  A business you’ll actually work like a business with a solid leader who will guide you towards where you wanna’ be; preferably, where they’ve already been! Doing this will both accelerate your ability to attain that freedom and give you a rich sense of accomplishment that you ARE in control again!

Knowledge is not power.  Knowledge applied is power.  Let’s take action my friends!

The Urgency Factor: The Power of Passionate Action

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Urgency is the most powerful trait you can have in your business

If I could pick one trait that most directly influences massive success in the network marketing industry or life in general I would choose Urgency.

As a ten year veteran in the MLM industry and one of the top earners in my company I can attest to the power of getting the message about your product or service to the masses as quickly as possible.

Very few companies tout an average product or service.  I’ve yet to see a Facebook status proclaiming mediocrity as a primary benefit.  Imagine if Pepsi tried this back when they started in 1965

“Choose Pepsi cuz’, well, you’re already drinking Coke”.

Here’s an observation:  We constantly see folks post on social media all about the amazing impact their company’s products are having upon people.  They market their lotion, potion, pill or powder as ‘the best’.  They share amazing pictures, testimonies & personal stories of how lives are being transformed…..and yet, they wonder why folks aren’t lined up at their door with a credit card in hand.  Here’s what I believe:

  Urgency is the most powerful trait you can have in your business.

I used to think it was passion but the truth is authentic passion CREATES urgency.

 

Why, ‘Why’, isn’t enough:

Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate the power of writing down the reason ‘Why’ you are building a business. Your why will keep you from giving up by allowing you to glance at the finish line you send you wanted to cross. But, if you lack passion or have doubts about your product or service’s ability to make a genuine impact in the lives of others, then you are in for a struggle (if you have integrity of course.)

So, if you are indeed passionate about what you do, may I simply recommend a bit of urgency on your part.  Here a some practical tips:

Urgency Tips:

Show them:  Become a product of the product and begin creating your personal success story (again, if necessary)

Confidently share without apology.  Once you’ve shared what it is you have to offer kindly ask them if they’re ready to get started.  A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is perfect.  Note: Questions are a positive sign…get them answered with urgency.

Get off social media and get to their kitchen tables.  Most everybody I’ve ever met who claims that they’re getting rich without every talking to folks is broke.  Facebook, Twitter, Google + and all the other platforms are simply a way to share who you are with an audience and a bit about what you offer; it is NOT a substitute for voice-to-voice or person-to-person interaction. 

Bring it to Them:  Allow them to hear the urgency in your voice & go to them if they don’t show up to your presentation. If you are only urgent about making money off of them then this is where you will struggle. Because I am authentically passionate about what I have to offer in my business I call my prospects immediately after they don’t show. I intentionally schedule 30 minutes to meet with them within the next 48 hours. Why??  Because I sincerely believe they HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT THIS! I’m applying the Urgency Factor!

If you’ve made it this far you are a serious student. Congratulations!  Now, for a bit of homework:

The Urgency Challenge:1. Decide whether you are passionate about what you are doing and write down 3 reasons why.

2. Write down the names of 3 people who you will actually call & speak with to share what it is you have to offer (ie. Product, Service, Business idea, Your Faith)

3. Schedule 3 appointments within 48 hours and apply what you’ve learned. 

4. Repeat as necessary for best results

 

Above all, I urge you to take action NOW if you have been inspired to do so.  

This World NEEDS You!!!

 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below as well as the results of your little experiment. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Moving Forward When Discouraged: A Lesson in Farming

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Identify what today’s Win looks like and then accomplish that. Move Forward towards your goal but let tomorrow worry about itself.

We all have a desire to reap a massive harvest. We are bombarded by abundance and feel we are simply not keeping up when we see yet another person presumably ‘winning’. If you often find yourself discouraged then these words are for you.

Success in anything requires preparation. The difficult part about this truth is that we are bombarded on social media with proclamations of either harvest or discouragement.  It seems very few people take the time to proclaim that they pretty much just got bloodied, muddied & beat up in the field today but are ok.  There’s not much poetry in preparing a harvest of any kind unless you have the wisdom to purposely look for it.

Consider this:  Imagine the farmer who walks in the door, throws off his hat, slumps down in his chair and proclaims his day was a waste.  “All I did was plow, plant & pluck weeds ALL day!”, he exclaims.

Even the person with the most minimal of farming knowledge would be able to offer this fellow some comfort.  I could picture myself getting him a glass of cold water, putting my hand on his shoulder, looking in his eyes and saying, “I know you’re tired. You’ve worked hard today and deserve some rest.  Don’t worry, the harvest is coming.”

And that’s what I want you to know.  YOUR harvest is coming.

-Just like a farmer must plow stubborn earth that has been packed down by a combination of time and complacency, so, too, we must deal with a world that is resistant to change.

-As a farmer must deal with the painful jolt in his hands when the plow hits a stone, so we must deal with the obstacles in our business that we run into which we never even saw coming. Our plow might get a bit damaged but will you quit or move forward?

-A farmer plants seed & we must continue to do the same if we expect to see the harvest.

-A farmer cultivates his field with purpose.  He waters, feeds & protects his crop from weeds. As leaders we owe it to ourselves & the harvest to do the same.

None of this is pretty but it is essential to acquiring the harvest.

Above all, leader, I encourage you to look upon your field with Thankfulness & Hope.  Negativity is a poison to Faith and locks the doors of blessing.  Don’t just think positive thoughts…Stand firm with the absolute conviction that YOU WILL WIN!!!

Stay the course, my friend, YOUR harvest is coming.

How to NOT Make Money With Your Blog

I just reached a milestone of 20 followers.

I got a notification about it and everything!Image

But something’s not quite right…I have this overwhelming concern I’m being followed by the shadows of people.  Like a dog at the dinner table, they’re just interested in 1 thing.

You see, when I click on the link to meet my new friend their WordPress theme wreaks of ‘Cash for Blogging’.   I want to reciprocate the follow but am having a hard time because their content is so singularly focused on cashing in. In my opinion many are missing the best part of Network Marketing…Networking.

I don’t really know a lot about ‘Team AWOL’ or Empower Network promoters other than that they apparently adore my content.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of entrepreneurship and am a HUGE advocate for Network Marketing.  I just can’t help but feel a bit manipulated by the whole tactic of using likes & comments as bait.

It’s entirely possible that I’m totally off base here.  I’d love to get YOUR thoughts on this & to find out whether you are experiencing the same thing.

If you are seasoned at earning an income with your blog what are your suggestions to help these folks out.  I’m new to blogging and would really love your seasoned insight.

Here’s Why I Retired From Teaching: A Year in Review

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If you’re anticipating some negative rant about why I hated teaching then you’ve come to the wrong place. Here’s the truth:

I never intended to leave teaching and I miss those kids a LOT.

Here’s another Truth: This has been the most fulfilling year of my life!

Today is the day I’d be walking into school with my comfy flip-flops and a baseball cap and checking off those final things on my ‘End of Year’ list.  I would arrive a bit late to my empty-ish classroom, wait for my check-out appointment and then head back into my classroom for one last, nostalgic look before heading off into FREEDOM.

For 15 years I’ve been looking forward to this day, but this year I simply call it, Friday.

Most people will never understand why I retired.  It’s easy to dismiss my decision to a selfish desire to chase money or fame or restlessness. Those who never took the time to really know me still think I retired for those reasons.

The truth is that I grew weary of only being able to open the gate towards freedom when someone else decided it was time to open it.  I never, for a minute, had a problem with the folks I was in the field with or the gatekeeper who opened & shut the gate each day.  That’s the system I signed up for. I just grew weary of THAT system.  For the first time in 2012-13 I’ve had the privilege to experience the Freedom of Summer all year!

I never intended to leave the teaching profession but I’m thankful that I did.  Here are a few reasons why?

-I watched a slide show the other day of my son’s 1st grade year in review.  Guess who was in every field trip & classroom centers pic.  Daddy!

– I got to drop off AND pick up the kids everyday. I got to wipe the tears AS THEY FELL when they were hurt on the outside or within. WIN!

– I had the privilege of bringing my children lunch and simply sitting with them in the middle of a typical day!

– I had plenty of time to coach people through their weight loss, active, fitness & financial transformations with Visalus!  Where I used to call this a job it is now my full-time Business.  It is MY responsibility to open & shut the gates.

– I had the privilege of going on countless dates with my bride whenever I felt like it! We prayed, talked, strategized, cried & frustrated the snot out of each other more times than I can count. But we experienced all this TOGETHER!!!

In short, I experienced the freedom I’ve been longing for.

Many thanks to all who’ve supported me on this journey.

The best is YET to come!

Moving Forward,

Rob

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